Exercise as medicine - evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in 26 different chronic diseases

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015 Dec:25 Suppl 3:1-72. doi: 10.1111/sms.12581.


This review provides the reader with the up-to-date evidence-based basis for prescribing exercise as medicine in the treatment of 26 different diseases: psychiatric diseases (depression, anxiety, stress, schizophrenia); neurological diseases (dementia, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis); metabolic diseases (obesity, hyperlipidemia, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome, type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes); cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart failure, cerebral apoplexy, and claudication intermittent); pulmonary diseases (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis); musculo-skeletal disorders (osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis); and cancer. The effect of exercise therapy on disease pathogenesis and symptoms are given and the possible mechanisms of action are discussed. We have interpreted the scientific literature and for each disease, we provide the reader with our best advice regarding the optimal type and dose for prescription of exercise.

Keywords: cancer; cardiovascular; neuropsychiatric; physical activity; physical training; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Contraindications
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Exercise Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Lung Diseases / therapy*
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Metabolic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Metabolic Diseases / prevention & control
  • Metabolic Diseases / therapy*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / therapy*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Conditioning, Human* / methods
  • Physical Conditioning, Human* / physiology
  • Physical Conditioning, Human* / psychology